Thursday, September 10, 2015

Nostalgia and Strippy Basket Blocks Progress

I spent a most delightful afternoon earlier this week with a younger cousin, not stitching but exchanging old photos while internet messaging.  She lives over 100 miles away, and had just been going through some of the old family photos in her late mom's vast collection.  Some of the photos surely date back to at least the 1930s, and perhaps even earlier.  They were taken at my grandparents farm, which holds a special place in my heart, as it was where my happiest childhood memories took place. 

When starting this blog I took the blogger name Quilting Babcia in honor of my grandma, my Babcia.  She was a formidable force with a huge soft spot in her heart for her grandchildren, an immigrant who arrived in this country at the age of 16.  She came alone, the rest of her family stayed behind in the old country, hoping to immigrate someday, a day that never arrived.  A distant cousin in New Jersey took her in for a short time, and she found a job and quickly learned enough English to get by.  At 18 she met and married my grandfather, a 20-year old recent immigrant, after a whirlwind three-week courtship. As far as I know they were never apart other than the years he spent serving in World War I.  When he returned from the war they bought a small 24 acre farm and raised their family there.  It became their home for the rest of their lives.  

They raised hundreds of chickens in the big old barn, kept a couple milking cows, and later when the cows were gone, Babcia raised her beloved rabbits in the back where the cows previously were housed.  And in that barn I spent many happy hours attempting to catch and tame the summer's litter of barn kittens, one of them so successfully that it followed Babcia around wherever she went and left countless meaty morsels on her doorstep for years afterward. She forgave me.
I'm almost certain that's my dad's car, a 1938 Plymouth, in front of the barn.

My grandparents kept several huge gardens, and twice a week they would load their green panel truck with fresh vegetables, eggs, and chickens and head for the fresh air market in a nearby city. This was how they made their living for nearly forty years.

Babcia sewed her children's dresses and shirts from the feed and floursack material of the era, on an old Singer treadle machine.  As far as I know she was not a quilter, but she was an excellent seamstress and a wonderful cook and a staunch defender of all her grandchildren.  I adored her.  We all adored her cream cheese cookies!
This may be the only photo of my Babcia holding me, 
a photo I'd never seen until two days ago!

Ah, yes, quilting - this week I've managed to stitch some of the setting triangles to the strippy basket blocks, and if all goes well and we don't end up leaving a day or two early, I may get the last row of basket blocks together and all three basket rows stitched to the alternate flower striped rows.  This is how it looks this morning before sewing the panels together.  Note the design wall is now officially attached to the wall, I think that pretty much makes the sewing room officially complete!

I've also been spending evenings tinkering with a few ideas while continuing the handquilting of the Blockade quilt   Reminder to self: don't keep choosing quilting designs that require constant rotation of the hoop when working on queen-size monster quilts!

What with packing and getting everything we can harvested from the garden, this may well be my last post before we depart.  I don't generally post while we're on the road, but with luck will find enough free wifi to continue following along with your latest adventures.  


  1. Wonderful post about your namesake.....that photo is priceless! So glad you got the share memories and family. And yes...the design wall looks good. Wishing you save travels and good trip.

  2. What a treasure to have that photo of you and your grandma now! I love gathering family history.
    Scrappy baskets is really looking good on your newly permanent design wall.

  3. What wonderful memories you have of your Babcia. Wishing you safe travels.

  4. What a brave girl to make that trip at the age of 16! And what great memories! The baskets look wonderful! My paternal grandfather went to sea when he was 13 and eventually arrived in the USA in 1904. My grandmother came over and they married in Chicago. It must have been hard, but young people do love an adventure. BTW, I used to do blog posts from McDonalds while traveling.

  5. I love your photos and what a wonderful surprise to find the photo of you and your Grandma together, so sweet!!!! Your grandparents sound like such wonderful warm people :^)
    Your basket quilt is gorgeous!!! Happy Travels!!!

  6. That is such a great love story. How blessed you were to have them in your life!


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